StrategicRISK asks some of the region’s top risk professionals for their thoughts on training, education and board engagement in the territory’s risk-management space.

David Parker, chief operating officer, Chinachem Group (pictured):
“The boards are the worst areas, [and they] need training, as most recent graduates and middle managers would have had some experience with it. I think it is an area for encouragement by bodies such as the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, HKEx, the Hong Kong Institute of Directors, chambers of commerce, and so on.”

Kevin Rookes, enterprise risk manager, Hong Kong Aero Engine Services:
“Training and education is key to success in enterprise risk management (ERM). Unless stakeholders have the awareness and knowledge of the process you are deploying, then you are certain to fail. Though this is easy to say, it is probably the most difficult challenge every risk manager faces.

A way to gain buy-in is to link the risk-management process personally to achieving key performance indicators to secure bonus payments. This can be done by populating a heat map with ranked obstacles that would prevent you achieving a bonus. Success would depend on mitigating those obstacles that appear in the top right of the heat map to shift them closer to the lower left.

“To embed risk management within an organisation is a journey that requires keeping your foot on the pedal so that you don’t lose momentum – it is not easy, but it is very rewarding for the individual managing the journey, employees, other stakeholders, and shareholders.”

Bob Sweeney, DFS Group vice-president risk management and a vice-president of the Pan-Asia Risk and Insurance Management Association (Parima):
“Our business is largely Asia-centric, and from what I’ve seen, risk management is largely transactional [in the region] at this point. That’s really the reason for Parima: to do whatever we can to help the risk-management community better understand what tools they have and how they can apply that knowledge – and to try to share as much of our knowledge as we can.

“This is where the economy is really booming and this is where there’s going to be strong, continuing economic development. Asia really needs a skilled risk-management community to help it grow.”

David Ralph, senior vice-president, risk management, PCCW Limited:
“As with most objectives and activities in any organisation, having both a high degree of understanding and commitment from the senior management and board of the company is critical to the success of a comprehensive and effective risk-management regime within the company. I believe we are quite fortunate in Hong Kong in that we are seeing an appropriate level of codification of their obligations to ensure effective risk-management practices, supported by sensible and practical guidance on how to achieve this rather than, as has been the case in other jurisdictions, enforcement of very inflexible, onerous and often ineffective rules.

“To date, the resources required to support Hong Kong’s developing community of risk managers have been somewhat lacking in a truly structured and readily available form with true relevance to Hong Kong and Asia in general. True, there have been some very commendable and worthwhile attempts to address the deficiencies, such as the Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) Asia Risk Council’s annual conferences … but nothing with a truly Asia focus open to all practising risk and insurance managers.

“Thankfully, this will soon be changing with the advent of Parima. Once up and running, we believe Parima will be a truly valuable resource for all risk managers in Asia, whether wizened old hands looking for new ideas, established risk managers looking for support to justify changes to their risk financing strategies, or as a risk-management 101 for people from the HR or finance departments who have risk management/insurance management thrust upon them as additional responsibility in a rapidly growing company.

“Like the other risk-management associations, Parima is being developed by risk managers for risk managers, who see a need and have the commitment to enhance and support risk management as a valuable and respected profession within Asia.”

More articles, discussions and interviews from our series of country-focused risk reports are available at our Asia Risk Report hub.